Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Lovie OK with Hanie -- now

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 00:59
At the owners’ meetings in New Orleans earlier this week, Bears coach Lovie Smith said he was comfortable with Caleb Hanie as the team’s No. 2 quarterback. Too bad Smith – and offensive coordinator Mike Martz -- couldn’t have reached that comfort level two months earlier in the 21-14 loss to the Packers in the NFC championship game. Then, after Jay Cutler was injured, they wouldn’t have wasted almost all of the third quarter with 39-year-old veteran Todd Collins at quarterback. Collins went 0-for-4 and the offense went three-and-out on back-to-back possessions. After then-No. 3 Hanie replaced Collins at quarterback, the Bears outscored the Packers 14-7 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough.

ESPN's McShay on Bears draft needs

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:22
On his conference call this morning, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said, “The Bears have to upgrade at offensive tackle,” but he added that they also “need another Tommie Harris, and linebacker is also a possibility.” He also admitted he had “a brutal time” deciding on the best pick for the Bears at No. 29 in his latest mock draft, which has them taking Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod. McShay and most other draft analysts consider Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo, Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, USC’s Tyron Smith and Colorado’s Nate Solder the top four offensive tackles in this year’s draft, although not necessarily in that precise order. Florida center-guard Mike Pouncey is also considered a lock for the first round.

New rule robs NFL of excitement

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:24
The "brain trust" of the No Fun League has struck again. NFL owners at their annual meeting today voted to move kickoffs up five yards to the 35-yard line, guaranteeing that there will be many more touchbacks in the coming season. As if there weren't enough already. Even worse, the league owners, in their "brilliance" voted to keep touchbacks at the 20 rather than moving them up to the 25, even though that would not have been enough of a deterrent to keep teams from kicking the ball to dangerous kickoff returners. This rule is especially harmful to the Bears, who have three of the league's best kick returners in Devin Hester, Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox; in addition to one of the best special teams coordinators in Dave Toub.

QBs tumble in Mock 2.0

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 01:31
A lot of mock drafts have QBs Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton coming off the board in the top five picks -- but not this one. I don’t see either player having early success with a bad team, and that’s all you have at the top of the draft. But, because there are so many teams with horrible situations at QB, that position could be overdrafted, as it usually is. In Mock 2.0, I believe the early emphasis will be on defensive players, and it should be, since that’s the strength at the top of this draft class. 1. Panthers - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama. You take a franchise QB if you can get one, but there aren't any in this draft. 2. Broncos - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson. New coach John Fox knows what DE Julius Peppers did for his Panthers defenses.

LB help might be needed in draft

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 02:00
The Bears haven’t had a first-round draft pick in three years, and most of the early speculation has them making a move to upgrade a mediocre offensive line or adding an interior defensive lineman. But they might wind up needing help at linebacker as much as any position. Four of the six linebackers on the roster at the end of the 2010 season could wind up as free agents under a new collective bargaining agreement. That means Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach, who have both been productive starters in the past, in addition top backups Brian Iwuh and Rod Wilson could all be playing elsewhere in 2011.

New kickoff rule would hurt Bears

Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:10
At next week's owners meetings in New Orleans, the competition committee will propose moving the kickoff up 5 yards to the 35-yard line, and bringing a touchback out to the 25. This not a good rule for a team like the Bears, who have three of the NFL’s best kickoff-returners in Johnny Knox, Danieal Manning and Devin Hester. In 2009, Knox was second in the NFL with a 29.0-yard average on kickoff returns. In 2008, Manning led the NFL with a 29.7-yard average. Last year Hester only returned 12 kickoffs, but he averaged 36.6 yards, and he’s scored 4 touchdowns on kickoff return plus another to open Super Bowl XLI.

Draft Day boycott a joke

Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 22:24
The NFLPA, in its new role as a “professional trade association,” is already acting unprofessionally. The players’ former union, which decertified last week in an attempt to allow individuals to sue the NFL and prevent a lockout, is trying to undermine the draft next month by recommending that the top prospects not attend. For years it has been tradition that the best of the best walk across the stage to shake hands with the commissioner after their name is called. The players then pose for the obligatory photo op holding up the jersey and wearing the cap of the team that just drafted them. But, in a move so petty that it’s laughable, the NFLPA wants to rain on the players’ parade by having them boycott the event at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

PFW draft guru has Bears taking OT

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 15:14
Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki has just posted his latest mock draft, and he has the Bears taking Miami offensive lineman Orlando Franklin with their first-round pick, at No. 29 overall. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Franklin was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes, and he played the all-important left tackle spot as a senior, after previously starting at guard. Nawrocki earlier had the Bears taking Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget in the first round, but his latest mock has the Illini standout going to the Seahawks with the 25th pick.

Players, owners get what they wanted

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 00:59
After three days of reading and listening to the NFL players and owners weigh in on the first work stoppage in 24 years, I have come to a few conclusions: *They both got what they wanted. The players wanted to decertify as a union because they have believed all along that they could get a better labor deal through litigation than through negotiation. They were led down this path by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who seems more intent on furthering his own career and making a name for himself than getting a deal done.

NFL response to union decertification

Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 13:48
The NFL issued the following statement on the players’ decision late Friday afternoon to decertify as a union and the owners’ decision to lock out the players as a result: “The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players’ union notified our office at 4pm ET on Friday that it had “decertified” and walked away from mediation and collective bargaining to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.